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Food
Gulf Coast oysters on the half shell at Wintzell's in Mobile, AL. donireewalker / CC BY 2.0

Hurricanes, Water Wars Threaten New High-End Oyster Industry on Gulf Coast

By Daniel R. Petrolia and William C. Walton

For Cainnon Gregg, 2018 started out as a great year. After leaving his job as an installation artist to become a full-time oyster farmer in Wakulla County, Florida in 2017, Gregg began raising small oysters in baskets or bags suspended in the shallow, productive coastal waters of Apalachicola Bay.

Raising oysters "off-bottom" this way takes a lot of time and money, but has a big potential payoff. They are destined for the high-end raw bar market, where offerings are denoted by specific appellations, like "Salty Birds" (Cainnon's oysters), "Navy Coves" (from Alabama) and "Murder Points" (also from Alabama), and can retail for twice the price of oysters harvested from traditional on-bottom reefs.

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Oceans
A Lake Worth lifeguard wearing a protective mask asks a surfer to exit the ocean as Palm Beach County officials announced that all county beaches are closed due to red tide affecting coastal areas on October 4, 2018 in Lake Worth, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Red Tide Plagues Both of Florida's Coasts for First Time in Decades

The same red tide choking Florida's Gulf coast has spread to waters off Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, forcing the closure of many popular beaches on Thursday and leaving hundreds of dead fish in its wake, according to local reports.

This is the first time in decades the toxic algae has affected both of Florida's coasts at the same time, the Associated Press reported.

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Animals
Mom and baby West Indian manatees in Three Sisters Springs, Florida. James R.D. Scott / Getty Images

Florida Manatee: 10% of Population Could Be Wiped Out This Year

2018 has not been a good year for Florida's iconic manatees. A total of 540 sea cows have died in the last eight months, surpassing last year's total of 538 deaths, according to figures posted Monday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The figure will likely climb higher before the year's end amid the state's ongoing toxic algae crisis. The red tide in the state's southwest is the known or suspected cause of death for 97 manatees as of Aug. 12, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission recently reported.

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Oceans

Florida Gov. Scott Issues Emergency Order for Toxic Red Tide

Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Monday declaring a state of emergency due to the ongoing impacts of red tide in seven southwestern counties.

The algae outbreak started nine months ago and has become the state's longest on record since 2006. The red tide has killed scores of marine life, including countless crabs, eels and fish, as well as dozens of manatees, hundreds of endangered sea turtles, potentially a whale shark and 11 bottlenose dolphins.

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Animals
Between 300 and 400 dead sea turtles were found floating about seven nautical miles off Jiquilisco Bay. MARN El Salvador / Twitter

Hundreds of Sea Turtles Found Dead Off El Salvador and No One Knows Why

Between 300 to 400 dead sea turtles were found floating seven nautical miles off the Jiquilisco Bay Biosphere Reserve in El Salvador, the country's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) tweeted yesterday.

The majority of the creatures were already decomposing when they were found, the ministry said. The species was not revealed.

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